Adopting Yanmei

February 2000

Adopting Yanmei

In February 2000, three families from Denmark travelled to China to adopt three daughters. We, the Maak-Bloom family, Lene, Steven and our 13 year-old son, were travelling to China to adopt, Yanmei, our 2,5 year old daughter, living in Jinchang, Gansu province. This was the culmination of a 2 year adoption process, that started in February 1998, when we sent the papers to start the process.

We left Copenhagen on February 23rd 2000, and were in China for a total of 11 days, flying first to Beijing, where we stayed a couple of days, then on to Lanzhou, the administrative capital of Gansu province. Yanmei was from Jinchang, a further 300 kilometres NNW from Lanzhou. She was brought overnight by train and “Gotcha” day was the 28th February 2000.

We left Copenhagen with just 48 hours notice – yes just 2 days! Due to some prior complications with the medical information about Yanmei, we had expected to leave a month after the other group members, the last of who were due to leave on February 23rd. However, in the early evening of February 21st, our agency called us and “proposed” that we could just as well leave with the others on the 23rd – we were totally unprepared.

This was the start to hectic couple of days and a memorable start to our trip to China. Read our day-by-day description of the preparation and the actual trip to China and the adoption of Yanmei.

Read our day by day description of our trip to adopt Yanmei ...
Day 1: An unexpected call February 21, 2000 Our trip to China begins on Monday February 21st, 2000 – at around 18:00. We’d just returned from a short trip to buy groceries – and a birthday present for Lene. Little did we know, that the ultimate "present" would soon be home with us in Denmark - the day before Lene's birthday. The telephone… Read more >
Day 2: Planning February 22, 2000 Steven rose at 5am, after less than 5 hours sleep, and started an e-mail discussion with BLAS, the company that would arrange everything regarding our trip in China. It was 12am in China. After a few e-mails back and forth, BLAS gave us a tentative OK that Yanmei could be brought to Lanzhou at the… Read more >
Day 3: Ready to travel February 23, 2000 Another early rise! Sarah from BLAS had confirmed our travel plans via mail, and after a few mails back and forth to make that sure that they understood that Thomas was travelling with us, everything was now cast in concrete - just as well, we were due to travel that evening! Next stop was the… Read more >
Day 4: Arrival in Beijing February 24, 2000 We landed more or less on time at 11:30am Chinese time (5:30am Danish time). We queued up for passport control (it took about 20 minutes) and then went down to collect our luggage. It had all arrived. We said goodbye to Jens, Gunhild and family (they were staying at another hotel). The Arrivals Hall was… Read more >
Day 5: Tourist in Beijing February 25, 2000 Today the plan was to visit the Great Wall. However we'd slept long and breakfasted late and by the time we were ready to go, the only means to get to the wall was by a chauffeur driven car. We passed up the offer and decided to walk into town again. We took a different… Read more >
Day 6: On to Lanzhou February 26, 2000 It was Saturday, and today we left Beijing for Lanzhou in Gansu province, roughly 2000km west from Beijing and situated in the centre of China. After breakfast we checked out of the Holiday Inn and met Christina from BLAS. We paid her for the services of BLAS, USD 2,975, for arranging the trip to Lanzhou… Read more >
Day 7: Around and about Lanzhou February 27, 2000 We rose and ate breakfast, a buffet. We were due to meet Steed for lunch, so after breakfast went out for another walk. This time we took some of the backstreets. Here one gets a better picture of the China of old – with barracks, public toilets, small shops, lots of people and bicycles etc.… Read more >
Day 8: Gotcha Day – Meeting Yanmei February 28, 2000 Today we reached the end of a very long journey, and the start of another. The children were due to arrive at 8:30am, after an overnight journey from Jinchang and a short stop to freshen-up at a nearby hotel. We rose early and ate breakfast. Everybody was a bit subdued, nervous and expectant at what… Read more >
Day 9: A smile at last February 29, 2000 We woke early on Tuesday morning. We hadn’t expected such a peaceful night’s sleep. Yanmei was still asleep; we didn’t wake her; but we were all eagerly waiting for her to wake up. When she finally woke up she took one look at us and covered both her eyes with her hands – probably hoping… Read more >
Day 10 – Yanmei is officially adopted March 1, 2000 After a late breakfast and some time alone in our room, the next stop was the passport office. This wasn’t far from the hotel, but as usual, we were driven. Once there, we didn’t have do anything, just show Yanmei to the official behind the counter and pay the 125RMB. Steed and the Director of… Read more >
Day 11 – Tourists in Lanzhou March 2, 2000 Again Yanmei slept all night and woke around 8:30am. She sucks her finger and puts her arm over her face when she rests. Another late breakfast – but again everybody else was late as well. At breakfast the only other foreigner staying at our hotel, an Australian, came over to congratulate us with the adoption… Read more >
Day 12 – Back to Beijing March 3, 2000 This was our last day in Lanzhou. After another peaceful night and late breakfast we packed our belongings checked out and left the hotel just before lunch. We lunched at Tuesday’s restaurant on the north side of the river – the best of the restaurants. After the meal and photos of Steed and the driver… Read more >
Day 13: A Danish visa March 4, 2000 This was our last full day in China. Lene, Jens and Jimmy left, after breakfast, to go to the Danish Embassy – the consular section had opened specially for us, (for a not insignificant cost) so that we could get a Visa for our newly adopted daughters entry into Denmark, in their newly acquired Chinese… Read more >
Day 14: Back to Denmark March 5, 2000 After a good nights sleep, followed by breakfast, we packed the last of our belongings, ready to check-out and leave the hotel. Packed into the mini bus, we took our last trip (at least for now) in China, as we again made our way back to the airport. Check-in was chaotic! A group of Norwegians… Read more >